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Europe briefing: Brexit debate continues and ‘gilets jaunes’ say U-turn won’t stop them

Europe briefing: Brexit debate continues and ‘gilets jaunes’ say U-turn won’t stop them
Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Alice Cuddy with Reuters
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Euronews looks back at the biggest stories from across Europe this morning.

1. Parliament Brexit debate enters second day


British Prime Minister Theresa May returns to parliament to continue her fight to sell her Brexit deal.

The second day of the five-day debate is set to focus on security.

It comes after May suffered defeats on key votes in Tuesday’s session. In a historic move, her government was found in contempt of parliament for refusing to release its full legal advice on Brexit.

The government was due to publish its Brexit legal advice at 11.30am GMT (12.30pm CET) on Wednesday.

2. ‘Gilets jaunes’ protesters vow to continue despite government U-turn

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Tuesday that the government was suspending controversial fuel tax increases that have sparked weeks of demonstrations by the 'gilets jaunes' (yellow vests) movement.

But this has not stopped many protesters, who have vowed to continue despite the U-turn.

Euronews correspondent Annelise Borges spent the night with a group of protesters in the city of Lille to get their views.

“Some people...told me they don’t even want to hear from the government of Emmanuel Macron anymore. They want the French president to resign and they want a completely new administration to be instated in its place,” she said.

“Others say they don’t want a moratorium. They don’t want a temporary solution. They want the government to drop its plans”.

3. Istanbul prosecutor seeks arrest of Saudi officials over Khashoggi killing

Istanbul's chief prosecutor has filed warrants for the arrest of two former senior Saudi officials on suspicion of planning the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, two Turkish officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

The move came because the prosecutor’s office concluded there was a “strong suspicion” that former royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri were involved in the October 2 killing.

The two men were removed from their positions in October.

"The prosecution's move to issue arrest warrants for Asiri and Qahtani reflects the view that the Saudi authorities won't take formal action against those individuals," one of the Turkish officials said.

Jamal KhashoggiReuters

4. Spanish court confirms nine-year sentences in ‘Wolf Pack’ case

A Spanish regional court on Wednesday confirmed a nine-year prison sentence for five men convicted of sexual assault, and upheld a controversial ruling that the men should be cleared of the more severe sentence of rape.

The men in the so-called 'Wolf Pack' case are accused of gang-raping an 18-year-old woman in 2016 during the annual San Fermin bull-running festival in Pamplona.

The ruling sparked protests across Spain, with people calling for changes to the law under which sexual abuse differs from rape in that it does not involve violence or intimidation.

The men were released on bail in June on a legal technicality, which says that no one can be held for more than two years without a definitive sentence being handed down.

5. Russia says no evidence that it has violated nuclear missile treaty

Russia on Wednesday said Washington had provided no evidence that it was violating the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.


The comments came after the US on Tuesday gave Russia a 60-day ultimatum to come clean about what it said was a violation of the deal.

The treaty requires the US and Russia "not to possess, produce, or flight-test" a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 kilometres to 5,500 kilometres, "or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles."

"Russia has a last chance to show in a verifiable way that they comply with the treaty... but we also have to start to prepare for the fact that this treaty may break down," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.

REUTERS/Yves Herman
NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attends a news conference during the NATO foreign ministers' meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.REUTERS/Yves Herman

6. Slovakia expels Russian diplomat over ‘espionage’

Slovakia has expelled a Russian diplomat after military intelligence showed he engaged in espionage activities in the country, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said Wednesday.

"We expelled him on November 22 and he left Slovakia within 48 hours," Pellegrini told reporters.


7. Former Bosnian Muslim commander arrested for ‘war crimes’

A former Bosnian Muslim commander was arrested on Wednesday over alleged war crimes against Serbian civilians during the 1992-1995 war.

Around 100,000 people died during the war in Bosnia, which saw Bosnian Muslims fight Bosnian Serbs and then Croats.

The suspect, 62-year-old retired commander Ramiz Drekovic, is accused of ordering attacks on a southeastern village, during which a 15-year-old was killed, the prosecutor's office said.

Follow our live news coverage every day from 6 am-12 pm CET in the blog below:

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